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The Brian Conley Show (1992)

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The Brian Conley Show (1992)

The Brian Conley Show
Format Comedy
Presented by Brian Conley
Starring Fern Britton
(1992-1993)

John Sachs
(1993-1995)

Ray Tizzard
(1994-1995)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Production
Running time 30 minutes
(1992-1993)

45 minutes
(1994-1995)

60 minutes
(2000-2002)
Production companies LWT
1992-1995

Thames Television
2000-2002
Broadcast
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3 (1992-1995)
16:9 (2000-2002)
Original run 22 February 1992 (1992-02-22) – 3 August 2002 (2002-08-03)

The Brian Conley Show was a comedy variety show, and later a comedy chat show, starring Brian Conley, and broadcast in the United Kingdom on ITV between 1992 and 1995, and again in 2000 to 2002.

Synopsis

The show was commissioned following Conley's last successful comedy series, Brian Conley: This Way Up. The show lasted for four series, although a live special was shown a year after the series ended, and a Christmas special aired a year after that. Shows were broadcast Saturdays on ITV between 22 February 1992 and 22 July 1995. Repeats began to show a few years later on the now defunct Granada Plus, though episodes stopped showing on the channel a few years before it closed, and has since never been broadcast again. Extracts from various episodes were uploaded to a dedicated YouTube channel, but was subsequently closed due to copyright claims.

The show was a mix of comedy, music, sketches, and variety acts. The first two series were recorded in the Churchill Theatre in Bromley rather than a television studio, giving the show a "live" feel. Brian would perform musical numbers, stand-up routines and sketches, the latter of which were performed on sets that were wheeled out onto the stage, and he'd often change costume in front of the audience. Series three and four were filmed in The London Studios and given a new look. Sketches were now performed on a rotating platform that switched between different sets as it spun. However, Brian's trademark characters were either performed on their own set or were pre-recorded.

Brian decided that the fourth series would be the last when, in an interview with TV Times, he decided to pursue a career on stage. However, after Brian compered the Royal Variety Performance in 1999, the show returned in 2000 albeit in a chat show format, dramatically different to the original show. Whilst it retained Brian's stand-up sets at the beginning of the show, as well as his special guests, sketches and Brian's characters were removed from the show. Whilst this had some fans unhappy, the show managed to pull in some famous guests including Leslie Nielsen and Kathleen Turner. The revival lasted for three series.

Features

Sketch characters

With the exception of Septic Peg, the show showcased some of Brian's sketch characters that he used in some of his other shows previously.

Nick Frisbee and Larry the Loafer

Nick Frisbee was a children's in-vision continuity presenter who had a puppet sidekick, Larry the Loafer (operated by Ray Tizzard). The premise of the character was to mock children's television presenters at the time, many who had puppet sidekicks - Larry was loosely based, and named after, BBC Saturday morning show Going Live's puppet Gordon the Gopher. Unlike children's television presenters, Nick was crude, and often cared very little for Larry or his viewers. He'd famously treat Larry very harshly, often hitting him with a club, which prompted the audience to 'aww,' to which Nick would reiterate to the audience that "it's a puppet!" Nick would read out letters, poems and jokes "sent in" by viewers with double-entendre names, and show spoof trailers for movies. In the last episode, Larry gets his revenge on Nick by dropping a studio light on him when he appeals for the welfare of loafers.

"Dangerous Brian" Conley

"Dangerous Brian" Conley was Brian's alter-ego stuntman. He'd perform stunts that would often vary in danger and ludicrousness, some of which he'd often not perform. Stunts varied from bungee jumps to riding pizza delivery scooters. From the second series, he was accompanied by commentator John Sachs who would often make fun of Dangerous much to his despair. He was occasionally joined by his scrawny helper, Nearly Dangerous Norris (played by Ray Tizzard) who dressed in a pink costume and often had no idea what he was doing.

Septic Peg

Introduced in series four, Septic Peg was an astrologist who featured in sketches entitled Septic Peg Predicts. She was a direct parody of Mystic Meg who appeared on the then newly-devised National Lottery draws that'd air around the same time as The Brian Conley Show on BBC One. Like Mystic Meg, Septic Peg would make predictions with the help of her crystal ball, but were often blatantly obvious predictions, such as guessing the Lottery winner would be celebrating a birthday this year, and they will be either a man or a woman. Her predictions were often accompanied with funny looks to camera.

Conley's Car Boot Quiz

Only featuring in the third series, Conley's Car Boot Quiz was a game played by two members of the public in a bid to win £1000. Conley would be filmed on location asking various people if they wanted to play, and mostly involved people not knowing who he was or what he was talking about. When two people were eventually chosen, they were given various impressions to identify which were performed by Jake, a robot from the year 3003 and was able to perform thousands of voices. After Jake performed the impression, the contestants would have to look through a car boot to find an item relating to the person Jake impersonated. The first person to return with the correct prop, Brian would give trivia about the person to the contestant, and had to say whether the trivia was a Fact (True) or a Fib (False). Guessing correctly won them £50. After four impressions, the winner with the most money would move on to the final round, which was based on word association. Brian would name a celebrity, such as Frank Bruno, and the contestant would have to think of words associated to that celebrity, such as boxing. Brian would often give clues if the contestant was stuck or simply show them the answer on his card. For every correct answer, the contestant won £100.

Music

Music featured heavily during the show's original run. Brian opened with his own adaptation of a famous song and closed with a song and dance number with a band and dancers. Each show also had a musical guest that'd perform after the commercial break.

Speciality Acts

One of the show's stand-out features was its showcase of weird and wonderful variety acts. Many of these guests were magicians, although some were out of the ordinary. Notable guests include Octopus (which was essentially a human slinky), Christopher Hart who played Thing from The Addams Family movies, Christopher who would perform as all five members of The Village People, and a man whose costume played musical notes and drum beats. This feature was retained in the 2000 revival, and had guests such as a "boneless" man, a supposedly juggling fly, and a scientist who had Brian lay down on a bed of nails and had a concrete block smashed on his stomach.

Specials

Brian Conley: Alive and Dangerous

A year after the end of The Brian Conley Show saw Alive and Dangerous, a special live show that aired on ITV in 1996. Similar to the original show, albeit performed on a stage rather than in a studio, it featured Brian's sketch characters, as well as considerably more songs and stand-up. It also featured a performance from Brian as Al Jolson, a performance that would later earn him awards, praise and recognition. The show was released on VHS and DVD with extra material, although neither are currently in production.

Brian Conley’s Crazy Christmas

Broadcast on 23 December 1997, Crazy Christmas was essentially an extended, Christmas special of The Brian Conley Show, but featured more sketches less reliant on his trademark characters similar to This Way Up.

External links

  • Brian Conley Official Site
  • BBC Comedy Guide to The Brian Conley Show
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